Counting the cost of your rebrand? Expert advice to develop accurate financial projections

Counting the cost of your rebrand? Expert advice to develop accurate financial projections


Vladimir Kacar

Creating financial projections for your rebrand comes with immense pressure to get it right. Overestimating the project’s cost could lead your CFO to reject your proposal out of hand. Underestimating it might cause the entire rebrand to stall before you reach a successful conclusion.

If you’ve never been through a rebrand before, how can you be confident that the numbers you’re putting together are accurate? You know you need to build a budget that is realistic, yet flexible enough to handle any unforeseen circumstances that will arise. But do you have all the data you need to make informed calculations? And are you confident that your team is equipped to give you solid estimates that will stand up to your CFO’s most challenging questions?

BrandActive has helped countless marketing leaders develop multi-million-dollar budgets that withstand scrutiny from the CFOs, CEOs, and Boards at Fortune 1000 companies. Based on those experiences, Executive VP Vladimir Kacar has answered five common questions to help you create the financial analysis your rebrand implementation will require.

1. How important is it to present accurate financial projections early in the rebranding process?

Obtaining buy-in from your organization’s executive leadership is the first step in ensuring your rebrand’s ultimate success. And a crucial component of winning your executive team’s support is demonstrating that you’ve done your due diligence early on.

Your brand’s identity and value play a crucial role in advancing your organization’s overarching strategic direction. Because of that, your C-suite and Board of Directors may already understand the need for a rebrand. But knowing a rebrand is warranted doesn’t mean they’ll automatically sign off on your implementation strategy and funding plan. You’ll need to provide clear rationale for the multi-year budget you present, along with scenario planning to model several possible courses of action.

Calculating the cost of your rebrand early on will help you quantify the ramifications of each strategic decision you make.

For example, perhaps you’re considering whether to completely overhaul your logo or refresh it only in certain markets or spaces. This decision will impact the extent of your project’s scope and should not be made blindly. Financial modeling can help your executive team consider the cost of each decision and chart the best, most cost-effective course.

That’s why it’s best to start calculating the cost of your rebrand implementation early on — even before your new brand identity and strategy are finalized. Doing so can help you quantify the ramifications of each strategic decision you make and inform your brand’s direction.

Gathering the right information early in the process is key to rolling out a data-driven rebrand that achieves your overarching goals.

2. What’s the best way to build a comprehensive rebrand implementation budget — and who should I involve?

It can be tempting to build your budget by surveying your entire organization, gathering invoice and expense information from each department, and amalgamating a financial projection based on all your current costs. But that’s not actually the best way to approach this process.

Yes, you should involve key stakeholders across locations, departments, and work units. You’ll need insight from directors and leaders as well as the employees who will liaise with vendors to convert all your assets. And you’ll need to verify that they provide accurate counts of everything from packaging to uniforms to fleet vehicles.

But what many organizations don’t realize is that rebranding is a perfect opportunity to rationalize, standardize, and simplify your expenses in order to identify areas for cost savings. You don’t have to just “flip the switch” and convert everything as is.

Based on the data you gather from your colleagues, it’s helpful to create different scenarios based on what needs to be transitioned immediately and what can be updated over time. For example, you might decide to use the existing packaging until it’s gone and only update it once it’s time to place regularly scheduled orders. Likewise, some of your fleet vehicles might be nearing the end of their useful life. Why rebrand something that won’t be on the road much longer? For other companies, however, having these high-profile touchpoints rebranded early may be a priority.

Keeping all these factors in mind will give you choices that fit your brand objectives and budget and ensure you’re not overestimating or underestimating your project’s total cost.

3. What am I most likely to overlook or misestimate when budgeting for a rebrand?

You might find that the most challenging part of implementing your rebrand is this simple truth: you don’t know what you don’t know. It’s all too easy to overlook important details or estimate incorrectly using incomplete information or faulty logic.

Here are some of the most common oversights you might encounter:

  • Incorrectly identifying and/or tallying the total number of branded assets that will need to be converted — especially in decentralized organizations
  • Overestimating or underestimating the amount of data you need to collect to make informed projections
  • Not thinking through the requirements of your organization’s CapEx policies 
  • Underestimating the external resources you’ll need to see your rebrand through
  • Failing to consider branded asset transition strategies that reduce the burden on the operating budget
  • Thinking you need to convert all your assets prior to launching your new brand
  • Not considering the implementation implications of your design choices
  • Missing out on opportunities to streamline processes, re-evaluate vendor relationships, and rationalize redundancies to reduce costs

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The good news is you don’t have to think of every eventuality on your own. An experienced rebrand implementation partner knows the right questions to ask and the most important data to analyze to ensure a successful result.

4. What skills and knowledge are required to build an accurate rebranding financial forecast?

It doesn’t take a degree in accounting to create a rebrand implementation budget, but it does require is a unique combination of skills. You need:

  • A high-level, big-picture understanding of your organization
  • A good understanding of what goes into rebranding a large organization
  • Fastidious attention to detail
  • The humility to recognize when you don’t have the answers
  • Good relationships with stakeholders across the organization to elicit the insight, feedback, and data you’re after
  • The ability to validate, dig deeper, identify gaps, and challenge assumptions
  • Creativity and flexibility to model out a variety of scenarios based on your organization’s needs

At the end of the day, many of the calculations you’ll make don’t require mastery of complex financial or mathematical processes. The challenging part is making sure you have correct and complete data at your fingertips to make accurate projections.

5. How have other companies budgeted appropriately for their complex rebrands?

In our experience, there’s one common trait of marketing leaders who achieve their rebrand implementation goals within budget. They don’t try to do it alone.

To be successful, plan to work closely with the functional areas, lines of business, and work units that will be critical to rolling out your rebrand. But remember: creating a rebrand budget is as new for them as it is for you. And since your rebrand’s ultimate success hinges on having enough resources to see it through, it makes sense to rely on a partner who has done this work for Fortune 500 organizations and knows what to expect.

Ready to create solid financial projections that will stand up to in-depth analysis by your CFO, C-Suite, and Board of Directors? Just reach out. We’d love to help.